My Initial Response is:

I don’t think I expected more.  I don’t think we could have gotten more.  I most certainly don’t think we have gotten what we should have.  I think they barely slapped Badman and the Children, Schools and Families department on their wrists for such a shoddy report. I don’t think they touched enough on how badly our reputations have been damaged.  I still don’t think they’ve proven the need for their interference in our lives.

 Questions for tonight:

Why do we need to register?

There is still no proven record that any child not on yet another register would be safer.  They mention over and over again that this information is needed.  But why? By whom?  They even suggest it would be beneficial to me—how?  What will my putting our names on a list provide for me?  I have not asked for anything, I do not want anything.  Really-they aren’t going to pay for the kids dance lessons or their private music lessons.  And no-we will not settle for our children joining in a music lesson at a school.  We have seen first hand how wonderful one-on-one tuition is.  They aren’t going to buy books for us, paper, pens, glue, computers or printers.  So can someone please explain how I, my husband or my children will benefit from registration?

Why do we need to register annually?

This is a huge waste of time to me, the LA and I’m sure it’ll be a costly system.    Why not just say, register once and that it’ll be updated as and if there are any changes to the child’s educational provisions.  That makes more sense to me, and would save tax payers money on yet another wasteful programme.

If it’s a registration, how can it be revoked?

They mention a few times in the review that the registration cannot just be revoked on a whim by the LA.  How can a registration be revoked?  Why not just call it what it really is—a license. 

What criteria will be set up to decide if the voluntary registration system will be considered a success or failure?

The Committee is trying to appease the Home Educators by saying they want it to be a voluntary registration system for two years, and then they’ll review.  What will they review?  What will make a voluntary registration successful?  Is this their way to ease in a mandatory registration?  Are they going to conduct another rushed, flawed and non-independent review to come up with more draconian measures?  What will they do if after one year no one voluntarily registers to make them happy?

And, isn’t it pretty sad that they still have not worked out how much all of this will cost nor how it will be done.  If they can’t work that out, how are they going to work out if it was successful or not?

Many LAs say Home Educators welcome the LA contact. Why?

What do they welcome?  I’m quite happy to have a chat once a week with my butcher or a check out clerk—and I’m sure the local LA may be a nice enough person to have a chat with.  But that’s all they do—have a chat.  Yes, some people may feel insecure in what they are doing, especially if they are just starting out.  But I am not one of those people.  I don’t care what anyone else has to say about my family life, or anything to do with my children. My children are happy and thriving-I don’t need that pointed out to me.

What have these happy home educators gotten from the LA other than a nice pat on the back?  I have as yet to hear of any real help given to any family.  And even in this report, no support is offered, none planned, and they have no idea where to start or how they would pay for anything.  Looks like once again-no benefit for anyone to be known by their LA.

It seems to me an awful waste of taxpayer’s money to send someone out to a home educating families home to have a chat.  I’m sure Ofsted can direct that money to the 1,400 primary schools in England that fall below the government’s “floor target” for pupils’ attainment in English and maths.  

 What is a suitable education?

Neither Graham Badman or this Select Committee seem to grasp that the government already has a definition of a suitable education.  This just goes to show, they do not know their own laws.

 The Education Act of 1996, section 7 states:

 Compulsory education

7 Duty of parents to secure education of children of compulsory school age

The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable—

(a) to his age, ability and aptitude, and

(b) to any special educational needs he may have,

either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.

 Why can’t they understand that the government has already defined what a suitable education is, and have enshrined it in law?  It expresses just what I, and most home educators, feel is the perfect definition of a suitable education.  We tailor our children’s educations to their needs and abilities, unlike schools.

Even if they can’t think outside the box and can’t realize that not all educational achievements need to be tick-boxed, they should at least have figured out by now that the government must actually have a way of checking if the children in school are receiving a suitable education.  Have they not realized that there are actual attainment levels set up to judge how well all 11 million school children are doing?  Is their inability to read their own laws going to cost this country another million or so pounds, by them conducting a review into what a suitable education is?  Did they not do this before they put the Education Act of 1996 into law?  Did the DCSF not do this when they set up the attainment levels for the National Curriculum?

These are just my initial responses to this review:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmchilsch.htm

I’ll be back with some more thoughts tomorrow.

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3 Responses to My Initial Response is:

  1. Kelly says:

    Great post Elizabeth! Can’t wait to hear what else you have to say. This is very hard hitting.

  2. Merry says:

    I think this might have an element of delaying the legislation until after a government change, knowing full well it will then get shelved. I think they have learned the hard way that Ed Balls throws his toys out of the pram if you oppose him. And i don’t think it was that complimentary, in a polite and professional way, about Badman. I only read the recommendations and conduct bits so far though.

    I have some hope. I think there was a polite, professional repudiation of HE children being in danger written into the phrasing. That was my impression – but i might well be wrong.

    At least it didn’t entirely back up either Balls, Badman or Bill.

  3. Barry Bloye says:

    I found it almost funny that Diana Johnson claimed:

    “we’re very pleased that, in their report, the Committee supports the vast majority of Graham Badman’s recommendations on home education.”

    http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/news/content.cfm?landing=schools_minister_diana_johnson_responds_to_the_children_schools_and_families_select_committee_report_on_home_education&type=1

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